THE PLAY-PARTY IN INDIANA - online book

Folk-Songs and Games with Descriptive Introduction, Notes, Sheeet music & Lyrics

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PART III. Classification of Play-Party Games.
Any classification of these games according to subject matter or incident is very unsatisfactory. They have not the narrative of the ballad and often lack the dramatic consistency of the ordi­nary children's games. In many instances the words are little more than directions for the dance, so that it would require many conjectures as to the origin of the games before a systematization based on subject matter would be possible.
With the exception of the three dialogue songs, Billy Boy, Nora Darling and No Sir all in this collection are dance-games. Only three, Getting Married, Kilamakrankie and Little Sally Walker are marriage games.1
There are a number in which choosing is the most important feature. In this class are: Farmer in the Well, Here Come Four Dukes, King William, London Bridge,2 Miller Boy, Needle's Eye,3 Pig in the Parlor, Skip-to-my-Lou, Cuckoo Waltz, Melven Vine, Old Chimney Sweeper, Old Dan Tucker, Sally Walker and Itiskit. It is interesting to find that, in general, these are the games which now belong exclusively to the children, for Farmer in the Well, Here Come Four Dukes, King William, London Bridge, Sally Walker and Itiskit4 are not played by the young people.2 Mulberry Bush with its imitation of work and Walk Along, John, are the only children's games which are not those of choosing. Old Dan Tucker, Miller Boy, Old Chimney Sweeper and Cuckoo Waltz are the only games of this group which belong exclusively to the young people. Thirty years ago, practically every choosing game was also a "kissing game." This was often brought about by the paying of forfeits and the redeeming of
1   Of marriage games, Mrs. Gomme (Trad. Games, vol. ii, p. 46) gives twenty-nine and among them are: Jolly Miller, King William, Round and Round the Village, and Sally Walker.
2  The reason for including these in this collection is the fact that it is so difficult to discriminate between the children's and the young people's games. Many which I believed to belong exclusively to the children, have been found to be very popular play-party games.
3  This becomes virtually a choosing game because the arch-makers agree upon whom they shall take as prisoner, in advance, and time the song accordingly.
4   Itiskit, is now played at the play-party but not as a singing game.
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